Gabapentin Withdrawal and Detox

Gabapentin – known by various brand names including Neurontin – is used in clinical medicine as a prescription anticonvulsant for the treatment of postherpetic neuralgia (pain caused by shingles), epileptic seizures, and restless legs syndrome. The drug also has a variety of off-label uses, such as the management of alcohol dependence, and migraine prevention.

Gabapentinworks by reducing unusual brain activity and thus minimises the chances of experiencing a seizure. as well as changing how your brain reacts to pain signals. Gabapentin is available as a tablet, capsule, or oral solution.

Over the years, there have been a number of recorded cases of gabapentin abuse, and such cases are most common among individuals who have engaged in substance abuse in the past. If you abuse gabapentin over an extended period, you may well experience withdrawal symptoms if you attempt to stop taking the drug on your own. Those who have abused the drug for longer periods of time, and in larger, doses tend to experience more severe withdrawal symptoms.

If you or a loved one have been abusing gabapentin and are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, it is strongly recommended that you seek professional help as soon as possible. This is because gabapentin withdrawal symptoms can easily become dangerous if not properly managed. Gabapentin withdrawal symptoms have been stated to be similar to those of opioid withdrawal, but with a few key differences, and may require different kinds of treatment to help you make a full recovery.

To get professional help in overcoming gabapentin withdrawal and get detox, contact a confidential addiction helpline today for comprehensive addiction treatment that’ll get you safely on the path to recovery.

Gabapentin Withdrawal: What Is It?

Continuous use of gabapentin contrary to your doctor’s prescription or for its intense pleasurable effects can lead to substance dependence. Physical dependence occurs when your body becomes used to the presence and influence of gabapentin in your system and thus requires frequent doses of the drug in order to function normally.

Because of its potency, becoming physically dependent or addicted to gabapentin is possible even if the drug is used only according to prescription, particularly if used over a long period of time.

During gabapentin withdrawal, you may experience any or all of the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Sweating

Gabapentin withdrawal can also lead to changes in mood, such as triggering depressive episodes, moody phases, mental health problems, and compulsive thoughts. Such symptoms are more commonly seen among young adults and children. These types of symptoms can last longer than acute physical symptoms, going on for weeks or even months.

Generally, gabapentin withdrawal symptoms may begin to manifest within 12 hours of your last dose of the drug and can last for as long as a week. In the event gabapentin was being used to manage a seizure disorder, suddenly stopping use of the drug may result in an increased frequency of seizures.

At the moment, there are no approved medications for managing gabapentin withdrawal. But symptoms such as nausea and pain can be treated with the help of medications that are specifically designed for managing symptoms like pain, diarrhoea, or nausea. Supportive medical care and behavioural interventions are considered to be the main treatments for gabapentin withdrawal.

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Causes of Gabapentin Withdrawal

When gabapentin is abused over a significant period of time, the drug can lead to physiological dependence. Physiological dependence occurs when the neurons in your brain start working under the influence of the drug. Once the neurons have adapted, they will rely on the presence and influence of gabapentin to maintain normal function.

When gabapentin is withdrawn after your body has developed a physiological dependence, your brain may become temporarily dysregulated

thus triggering uncomfortable physical symptoms. The combination of these symptoms is referred to as withdrawal syndrome.

What triggers gabapentin withdrawal, and influences the severity and type of symptoms, are a variety of factors. Some of the more prominent factors include:

  • The more gabapentin you’ve abused, the worse your withdrawal process will likely be. If gabapentin is used under medical supervision, small doses of the drug will likely be initially prescribed. Over time, your dosage may be increased. But as your tolerance to the drug increases, you may require larger and larger doses of the drug to experience the desired effect and this increase in tolerance can worsen withdrawal symptoms when you try quitting.
  • Your physiology, such as your gender, general health, and how much you weigh will all impact how you experience gabapentin withdrawal. Also, if your body is naturally more sensitive to withdrawal symptoms, withdrawals may take longer and be more complicated for you.
  • The longer you’ve been abusing gabapentin, the worse your withdrawal symptoms will likely be.
  • How you try to quit gabapentin.If you try to quit using gabapentin suddenly (cold turkey) after a long period of abuse, your withdrawal symptoms will likely be severe. On the other hand, a tapering process that gradually weans you off the drug will greatly minimise withdrawal symptoms as well as any accompanying risks.

If you suddenly stop taking gabapentin after you’ve developed a physical dependence on it, you can expect to begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms within 12-48 hours after your last dose. The general gabapentin withdrawal timeline is as follows, but keep in mind that the precise withdrawal period and symptoms will vary from person to person.

First 12-24 Hours

In your first 12 to 24 hours after your last dose of gabapentin, you may begin to experience the following symptoms of withdrawal: anxiety, headaches, sweating, heart palpitations, seizures, and tremors.

Day 3

Around this point, withdrawal symptoms will likely peak as you experience the following withdrawal symptoms: restlessness, confusion, hallucinations, trembling, increased heart rate, disorientation, fever and agitation

Day 4 or 5

After this period, withdrawal symptoms will likely begin to wind down. But you may still experience symptoms such as increased confusion, agitation, light sensitivity, and anxiety for a while.

Gabapentin Withdrawal Symptoms and Effects

Whether you use gabapentin according to prescription or you abuse it, you may still experience some form of withdrawal if you suddenly stop using it. Research indicates that individuals taking gabapentin at doses as low as 400 mg a day for as little as three weeks can experience withdrawal.

Symptoms of Gabapentin Withdrawal

Gabapentin withdrawal symptoms are quite similar to those of benzodiazepine and alcohol. Depending on the severity of your addiction, withdrawal symptoms may vary from mild to life-threatening.The withdrawal symptoms may be physical or psychological in nature with psychological symptoms often lasting longer than the physical ones.

Physical Symptoms of Gabapentin Withdrawal

Some of the more commonplace physical symptoms experienced during gabapentin withdrawal include:
Medical professionals at a detox facility can safely manage these symptoms.

  • Excessive sweating
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Rapid heartbeat or heart palpitations
  • Catatonia or inability to move
  • Seizures (possibly fatal)
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Psychological Symptoms of Gabapentin Withdrawal

Psychological withdrawal symptoms after quitting gabapentin may include:

  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Irritability
  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Strange or unusual thoughts

Gabapentin Detoxification

Detoxification is the first and most crucial step to making a full recovery from gabapentin addiction. But the process can be painful and uncomfortable, which is why many recovering addicts who try to detox on their own end up relapsing before they can complete the full process. Commonly, a tapering process is recommended to minimise the severity of withdrawal symptoms during detoxification.

In the initial stages of the detox treatment, you will be put through an intake process where the severity of your addiction, as well as the state of your health, will be determined. Based on this information, the treatment centre will then recommend an appropriate course of action to best suit your individual condition. During the intake process, it is vital that you offer honest and accurate information, especially concerning if you were abusing any other substance alongside gabapentin, as well if you’ve been previously diagnosed with any physical or mental health issues.

The process of tapering your gabapentin dose will involve gradually reducing how much of the drug you use over a predetermined period of time until you are completely weaned off it. You may also be provided medication during detox to ease your withdrawal symptoms.

If your gabapentin addiction is severe, it is recommended that an inpatient detox facility be used for your treatment. An outpatient treatment facility will be better suited to patients with a less severe addiction and who will likely experience milder withdrawal symptoms. But there is also the option of combining treatment in an inpatient facility with that of an outpatient facility for both convenience and effectiveness. For instance, you can use an inpatient facility during the initial, and more crucial, stages of detox and then progress to outpatient treatment towards the later stages.

Gabapentin Abuse Detox Process

A gabapentin abuse detox will typically start with the following steps:

  • Evaluation. This involves a comprehensive assessment of your condition from a social, psychological, and medical point of view. Screening and testing will also be undertaken to determine any medical or mental conditions you may have, as well as what addictive substances are presently in your system.
  • Stabilisation. This involves the management of your withdrawal symptoms through counselling and the administering of medication. Such treatment is often tailored to match your specific condition.
  • Facilitating ongoing treatment.This will help you understand that detox is just the beginning of your recovery process, and continued treatment is needed to minimise chances of a relapse.

Treatment Methods and Options

A medically supervised detox programme can help people who have been abusing gabapentin at high doses for a long time. By being admitted into a gabapentin detox centre, you will have access to everything necessary to ease your transition to a life without gabapentin. It will also help minimise the likelihood of experiencing some of the more severe withdrawal symptoms.

Several types of gabapentin treatments for withdrawal and addiction are available, and you have a diverse range of addiction clinics throughout the country and abroad that can provide the level of care and support you need. Some of the more commonly used treatment options include:

  • Detox. Detox centres can help you get through the acute stages of substance withdrawal. During the programme, you’ll be monitored and cared for around the clock, while being provided medical and psychiatric attention. Continued care such as ongoing substance abuse therapy can be arranged for at another facility following detox. Depending on the severity of your addiction, the detox program can last for between 3-10 days.
  • Outpatient withdrawal treatment. An outpatient programme can be immensely helpful with both long and short-term recovery efforts. Many people prefer outpatient programmes because they get to return home every day once their treatment for the day is completed. But an outpatient programme is best suited for recovering addicts whose addiction isn’t so severe that their withdrawal symptoms would require round the clock supervision.
  • Partial hospitalisation programmes. This is a form of outpatient treatment that provides medical support and therapy for the duration of your treatment programme.
  • Dual diagnosis programmes. These are meant for addicts who may have a co-occurring mental disorder alongside their addiction issues. For such individuals, it is best that the co-occurring mental disorder is treated alongside the gabapentin addiction in order to guarantee a full recovery, as well as reduce chances of a possible relapse.
  • 12-step programmes. These generally offer peer support and helps prevent relapse. These programmes can benefit a recovering addict during treatment, as well as after treatment as part of their aftercare.
  • Individual therapy. This can help you learn new and healthy ways of coping with chronic pain as well as successfully work through issues that drive your drug abuse habits.
  • Inpatient programmes.This is the most effective treatment programme for individuals with a severe addiction as you’ll be cared for in a controlled environment where stressors and triggers that normally influence you into abusing drugs will be absent. You’ll also have access to 24/7 medical care to help manage your withdrawal symptoms and general wellbeing. Treatment will occur in a live-in treatment facility where you’ll attend therapy groups, individual counselling, 12-step meetings, and participate in a variety of healthy recovery activities.

At the moment, there are no medications approved for the treatment of gabapentin withdrawal. But medication that’ll help minimise some symptoms and make you more comfortable during withdrawal can be prescribed. Your gabapentin dose may also be tapered down over the course of a week or several months to also minimise withdrawal symptoms and avoid long-term health complications that gabapentin withdrawal may lead to.

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Finding The Right Treatment

When seeking the right treatment for gabapentin addiction, it is important to know what you’re looking for so you can get professional assistance that is guaranteed to help. To pick the right treatment for you, you need to take the following things into consideration:

  • Would you prefer an inpatient or outpatient setting?
  • Would you like to receive addiction treatment close to home or abroad?
  • Would you prefer to continue working while receiving treatment?
  • Will your insurance cover the cost of treatment?
  • Is the treatment programme affordable?
  • Does the treatment facility have experience helping people with your unique type of addiction?

Keep in mind that gabapentin addiction doesn’t have to be a burden you bear alone. Professional help is just a phone call away when you call a confidential addiction helpline.

Home Detox for Gabapentin Abusers: How Safe Is It?

If you try quitting gabapentin on your own (especially if you go “cold turkey”), you are likely to experience seizures. Said seizures are most likely to occur if you were initially using gabapentin to treat a seizure disorder, and these seizures may prove fatal if not properly managed.

Furthermore, during withdrawal, you may experience other intense symptoms such as drug cravings and possibly suicidal ideation. These symptoms can be unbearable even if you have an iron will. And if you give in to cravings during a detox, chances are you’ll relapse and may go overboard with how much gabapentin you use. This can result in a possibly fatal overdose.Thus, for the sake of your safety, it is in your best interest to opt for residential detox services, rather than attempt to detox at home.

Self-Detoxification for Gabapentin

  • Inconsistency of symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can unpredictably fluctuate, leaving you overwhelmed and vulnerable to health damage.
  • Self-medicating during withdrawal can do more harm than good, as you might end up abusing other drugs and substances in an unhealthy manner.
  • Risk of relapse is greatly increased during a self-detox, as there’s no one to stop you from indulging your cravings.

Specific reasons why detoxing from gabapentin at home could be harmful include:

For the sake of your safety, and in order to achieve long-lasting recovery, it is recommended that you complete gabapentin withdrawal under the supervision of a doctor.

This can be provided in an inpatient addiction treatment facility where you’ll have access to round-the-clock care, as well as medication to help alleviate your symptoms.

Ready for Help?

The path to sobriety and good health is right in front of you. With the help of addiction specialists, gabapentin addiction doesn’t have to be a life sentence, and you can get treatment that’s right for you with ease. There are gabapentin addiction treatment centres within (and outside) the UK, and you can easily find the one that offers the help you need at a price that’s within your budget. Call a confidential addiction helpline today for a no obligation conversation to discover more. The sooner you get addiction treatment, the better for you and your loved ones.


FAQS

What is Gabapentin Withdrawal?

Gabapentin withdrawal occurs when you have developed a physical dependence or addiction to the drug. The withdrawal symptoms will likely manifest if you try to suddenly quit using the drug or you simply delay in taking a fresh dose. Gabapentin withdrawal symptoms can vary in severity depending on the level of your addiction to the drug. If your addiction has been going on for a long time, your withdrawal symptoms will likely be more uncomfortable in comparison to someone whose addiction has been going on for only a short period of time. Other factors, such as your physiology, how much of the drug was being taken, and if you were combining the use of gabapentin with other substances, can also influence the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

When Will I Stop Craving Gabapentin?

Intense cravings for gabapentin will likely pass after the first three to five days after you stop using the drug. But once addicted to gabapentin, you could randomly experience cravings long after you’ve quit using the drug. This is most likely to happen if you are exposed to the triggers and stressors that normally caused you to abuse gabapentin.

Can Anyone Tell I’m Using Gabapentin?

If a person knows the tell-tale signs of substance abuse to look out for, they might be able to tell if you are abusing gabapentin. Effects of the drug a person may be on the lookout for include: euphoria, dizziness, difficulty speaking, poor physical coordination, temporary amnesia, restlessness, impulsive acts, and mood swings such as sudden aggressive behaviour.

Can you Die from Gabapentin Withdrawal?

Gabapentin withdrawal is usually only deadly if it is not properly managed by a medical professional. This is why it is recommended that if you want to quit abusing gabapentin, you should do it with the help of an addiction specialist.

Can Symptoms be Categorised in Order of Seriousness, and are there Side-Effects?

The symptoms and side effects of gabapentin withdrawal can be categorised in the order of their seriousness with some being potentially fatal and others being uncomfortable to deal with. Some of the more dangerous symptoms include seizures and catatonia. You may also suffer from hallucinations or depression which may lead you to self-harm.

Some of the less dangerous symptoms of gabapentin withdrawal include:

  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Irritability
  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Back or joint pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Difficulty with memory
  • Ear pain
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tremors

Why Should I Enter A Stimulant Detox Programme?

Detox is a crucial first step to beating a substance addiction. Without completing a detox programme, making a full recovery and avoiding relapse is near impossible. Also, withdrawal symptoms during a detox can be painful and lead to health complications if not properly managed. Thus, it is in your interests to enter a stimulant detox programme where your withdrawal symptoms will be effectively managed by a team of medical professionals.

How Long do Gabapentin Withdrawal Symptoms Take to Stop?

The precise withdrawal period and symptoms often vary from person to person.

But generally, gabapentin withdrawal symptoms can last for up to ten days.

What Recovery Programme is Right for Me?

There are a variety of recovery programmes available. The one that’s right for you will depend on the specifics of your condition, as well as which program you believe will best suit your needs. Some factors to take into consideration when determining what recovery program is right for you include:

  • Would you prefer an inpatient or outpatient setting?
  • Is your addiction severe and will it require round the clock care?
  • Would you like to receive addiction treatment close to home or abroad?
  • Would you prefer to continue working while receiving treatment?
  • Will your insurance cover the cost of treatment?
  • Is the treatment programme affordable?
  • Does the treatment facility have experience helping people with your unique type of addiction?

Do Symptoms and their Duration Vary from Person to Person?

Yes, withdrawal symptoms will vary from individual to individual based on the following factors;

  • The more gabapentin you’ve abused, the worse your withdrawal process will likely be.
  • Your physiology. Characteristics such as your gender, general health, and how much you weigh will all impact how you experience gabapentin withdrawal.
  • Duration of gabapentin abuse. The longer you’ve been abusing gabapentin, the worse your withdrawal symptoms will likely be.
  • How you try to quit gabapentin. If you try to quit using gabapentin suddenly (cold turkey) after a long period of abuse, your withdrawal symptoms may be severe. On the other hand, a tapering process that gradually weans you off the drug will greatly minimise withdrawal symptoms as well as any accompanying risks.

Can I get Help for Gabapentin Addiction?

Yes. There are a variety of addiction treatment centres available in the UK and abroad that can help you with your addiction. Depending on the unique circumstances of your addiction, these treatment facilities will recommend the best possible course of treatment to help you make a full recovery.

Are there any Home Remedies for Getting Clean Safely?

There are home remedies for detoxing but they are not recommended. This is because such home remedies only take care of the physical aspects of your addiction and not the psychological aspect. Furthermore, home remedies are limited in how much care they can provide, especially if your withdrawal symptoms are severe. It’ll be far safer to place yourself under the care of an inpatient program where a medically assisted detox and proper rehab can be provided.

What Happens During Stimulant Detox?

In the initial stages of the detox treatment, you will be put through an intake process where the severity of your addiction, as well as the state of your health, will be determined. A medically assisted detox can then be provided to help you safely and effectively overcome your addiction. Medically assisted detoxes will involve a team of medical professionals supervising your condition around the clock and providing you medical assistance whenever you need it. A tapering process may also be used during the medically assisted detox to significantly minimise your withdrawal symptoms. The controlled tapering or weaning off the drug will reduce the likelihood, as well as the severity, of withdrawal symptoms.

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